Will Democrats be able to remove the filibuster?
The down-ballot 2020 endorsement for the Democrat agenda, which includes eliminating the filibuster, was miserable. Reduced from a 36-vote margin in the House down to possibly 9, not clearly picking up the Senate as they expected, and losing state legislatures AS Joe Biden loses thoughts mid-sentence, the mandate for their agenda is about as popular as a New York/California lockdown.
In fact, the evidence of Joe Biden's fraudulent presidential "win" is staring us in the face with the down-ballot results. This disconnect provides mushy ground for Biden to make a strong stance for a robust Democrat agenda that includes killing the filibuster, a parliamentary move that permits an out-of-power party from halting a vote, usually through extended speechifying on the Senate floor.
And voting to remove the filibuster in the Senate could be the very misstep that Democrats, tentatively situated in the House and maybe the Senate, fear could unseat them by 2022.
Right now, the slim hope for congressional Republicans is that the 2022 midterm vote should survive the next election fraud enough to knock out congressional at-risk Democrats. The sweat beads from that might just remedy their voting habits. And my grade-school math says 2022 midterms are just two years away. Five or six lost seats, and the Democrats are no longer in control of the House. They could also lose or fail to gain control at all of the Senate..
So a wounded Democrat agenda is all that is likely to hit the table for consideration anyway.
So there are already Democrats formerly on the record as not supporting the end of the filibuster.
Sen. Joe Manchin (August, 2020): "No, I would not vote to eliminate the filibuster. That's not what the Senate is about."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (August, 2020): "I think it's a part of Senate tradition, which creates a sobering effect on the body, which is healthy."
Sen. Angus King (independent who caucuses with the Democrats): "I think that would be a huge mistake. If we did not have the 60-vote rule today, the ACA would be gone. Medicaid would be severely compromised."
Certainly, opinions change over time and for situations, but just one dissenting Democrat would certainly keep the filibuster in place, and that would not be necessary if Loeffler or Perdues win the Georgia mail-in voting lottery.
But let us play "Biden's Advocate" here and examine what might happen if the Democrats with a 50-50 Senate were to actually remove the filibuster upon "The Absent-Minded President's" coronation...attended only by those who lost their way to the Trump rally. What manner of twisted, surreal world would the future bring us without a filibuster?
We got a taste with a couple of twists that happened in 2013 and later in 2017.
In 2013, Harry Reid, in a typical Nevada poker bluff, emptied all chambers into his foot that he mistook for a Republican target. Reid proudly and naïvely removed the filibuster for Obama appointees and lower-level judges. Wow, didn't that feel great, Harry? Yes, for a while, I suppose. But precedents set can be precedents repeated.
Enter Mitch McConnell in 2017, needing a Supreme Court justice approval for Judge Neil Gorsuch. McConnell, peeking at his hole card, said, "I'll see your lower-level judges and raise you a Supreme Court judge."
So you have Harry Reid's hubris to thank for Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett and a multi-decadienal conservative Supreme Court. Thank you, Harry!
So what could happen if this filibuster depletion were to escalate?
Whatever it would be could best be explained in a Twilight Zone episode:
"Picture if you will — a Twilight Zone of alternating filibuster-less unabated four-year ram-it-through universes. The first with grinding out marginal progress against gun control, Green New Deals, open borders, no police, increased taxes, free college, free abortion, free healthcare, 11 Supreme Court Justices, and 52 states. Then followed by four years of the opposite unchecked agenda grinding out marginal progress against full gun rights, American energy independence, border walls, private health care, slashed taxes, 13 Supreme Court Justices, defunded Planned Parenthood, and 54 states. Sonny and Cher's prophecy of the beat going on would go on...and on...and perhaps even...on.
Although we seem locked in a 50-50 country with, regardless of the 2020 outcome, close elections and a divided populace, our legislative directions need to have more support than just 51 percent. The Senate has always been that saving grace and the filibuster the last line of defense. Both parties support the filibuster, and both want it eliminated — depending on who is in power. That really tells you how critically important it is.
Legislative progress in our democratic republic should not be accompanied by the ease with which it happens in a totalitarian state. Gridlock is not a flaw, but a designed part of the checks and balances inherent in keeping our republic from spinning out of control in one direction unabated — regardless of the direction.
Progress in a democratic society is not about speed of progress, but about careful progress regardless of speed. The best analogy would be mountain-climbing. It is not about how fast you go, but how well you go. Each hand hold is carefully engaged. Progress is carefully secured with pitons to ensure that the next slip can be recovered from at minimal risk. Progress is designed to be slow but solid and steady. Discarding the filibuster would be trading in your bag of pitons, your securing ropes, and your spiked boots and recklessly scrambling up the mountain with the illusion of speed but with the predictable result of a fall to the bottom of the mountain — and the end of our democratic republic.
So the question for our times will be this. Given the chance, will the Democrats be idiotic enough to repeat their 2013 foolishness leading to their 2017 downfall with a 2021 removal of the filibuster across the board?
I say no, but knowing Democrats — who can tell?
Image credit: Picryl, public domain.